Wish for Africa Foundation

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Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Monday 11th May Goodmorning Lagos!

The nights sleep disturbed but not too bad for the first night in an unfamiliar bed, only one power cut in the night. Up and showered and breakfast down stairs, a little lonely, no other guests appear to be around. Whilst awaiting Femi’s arrival and the adventure of the coming day I update my diary.
First port of call is the clinic, ‘just across the road’ only problem is you have to go a mile or so up the road to get over the other side, a sort of dual carriage way with pot holes. I am introduced to the staff all of whom appear shy or suspicious. The clinc which is squashed between buildings is not a ‘propose-built’ premise. The facilities are to say the least basic and minimal, this also to my surprise is Femi’s home a room upstairs with a bed, fridge, wardrobe, shower, TV. Not at all the flash large house that many back in UK assume he goes home to at the end of the day. The birthing room, theatre are not what I am used to, the theatre bed is a rickety make do thing that Femi reasurred me that no one falls off! There is a lamp resembling an office lamp rather than a theatre one and an O2 cylinder, no big bright lights, sterile and clean surroundings of the obstetric theatres at home.
After finishing the tour of the centre, we headed off for Lagos Island and Victoria, passing on the way Oshodi. I peered across the familiar sight just as I had seen it in books and on the internet. I had envisaged there to be lots of rubbish and stench, which there wasn’t, often there were people employed to sweep with brooms and dustpans on the edges of the road, even towards the poorer areas. Heading towards Lagos Island to our right was an expanse of water, here were ‘houses’ built on stilts all crammed together, not your luxury riverside apartments by any stretch of imagination! I was told the sewage goes straight into the water here, and in the same area many boats were fishing (one can only say they must be fat fish!).
As we arrived in the ‘better’ area it still struck me that everywhere you can see crumbling unkempt buildings, roads side by side with wealth. The appearance of the whole place is so far from any where back home.
As we travelled around Femi talked about his dreams and aspirations, he is a man on a mission and is doing and is aiming to do amazing things. He is passionate about his nation and the people within it. He is certainly not blinded to the problems and speaks honestly about these, but believes that God has given him the gifts he processes to make a difference. I have to say I whole heartedly go along with this thought, he is determined and where many would have given up, after the many obstacles that have gone before him, Femi keeps on going. Femi all credit to you and your hard work and praise God for people like you!
We headed towards a publishing firm that produce a magazine Genevieve aimed at women. These are heading the pink ball that is giving awareness to breast cancer and promoting self examination. I sat in reception as Femi does what he is good at (apart from being a Dr… PR). I was introduced to the editor of the magazine, who was passionate about empowering women and breast awareness is part of that. Here in Nigeria not surprisingly there are no government campaigns or screening or health education programs. Only those with money can afford to just visit the doctor and many die through ignorance or lack of money to obtain treatment. Something we take so much for granted in the UK is the fact that health education is everywhere and that we can pretty much turn up at our GP or hospital and receive treatment.
We also drove along the beach road, Lagos has such a beautiful expanse of beach, it seems such a pity that it can’t cash in on this and become a holiday destination. Only six hours from the UK, good climate, good beaches, friendly people. It’s hard to get your head around what isn’t working! The hotels in this area are very expensive and there are many of them but not for your tourist, it seems that it’s mainly rich people here on business to get even richer?
On a lighter note, Femi treated me to ‘lunch’ ( he knows how to treat a lady lol!!). As you drive or crawl along the roads there are people selling anything and everything. An array of goods from fruit, drinks, tissue, toilet rolls, car mats, door hooks, mobiles to Gala bars. Now this Gala was sold to me by Femi as a delicious sausage roll, a treat that his father would bring home to him as a child. He said many of his Nigerian friends in the UK say they too love them and ask him to bring some over… well guys I don’t know what planet you’re on but they are AWLFUL!!! As I bit in with excitement, every water molecule in my mouth was sapped up from the dry salty consistency the likes I have never experienced before. I drank a gallon of water to re-hydrate myself and to then be able to talk again! They must be an acquired taste but unlike the goat and pepper soup, it’s not one I think I will become accustomed too. Then on the radio a lovely little jingle came on advertising them, we laughed as my ability to salivate came back.

4 comments:

  1. got the card today lol thanks x

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  2. Wow, what a feast for the senses! Really hope you can keep posting, I love reading about it. Look forward to the next instalment! Mich xx

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  3. and pics :) we want pics!!!!!! lol x x

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  4. Oh Jo I should be with you, I knew it was the wrong decision not to go, keep up posted and god bless

    Jo Fisher xxxxx

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